Does It Get More 80s Than A Le Clic Disc Camera?
Swatch showed the world of the 80s that fashion colors and reduced costs could turn a watch from a once-or-twice per lifetime purchase into a frivolous repeat buy. Cheapie cam company Keystone took a pastel page from Swatch's book and rolled out their Le Clic line of cameras; inexpensive cameras in fashion colors.
Pocket sized cameras weren't exactly a new idea in the late 80s, but spankin' new Kodak Disc technology meant that the cameras were easy to load, had a built in reusable flash (instead of disposable flash cubes), and a pleasing flat shape that your could easily slide into your Jordache Jeans. You could say the same about 110 cameras from the 70s too, but let's not quibble.
Keystone was serious when they launched the LeClic disc camera as a fashion forward cam. In 1986 at Astor Hall in the New York Public Library, Keystone invited 500 designers, retailers, and the fashion press to the unveiling, giving each one of the new Le Clic cameras. From the May 14th '86 Chicago Tribune:
"20 waiters dramatically came down the glorious, castle-like staircase of the historic library, each carrying silver trays. Instead of the expected hors d`oeuvres, the trays held film discs. Guests, quite naturally, grabbed the film and started shooting away."
Despite the relative crumminess of disc pictures (the negative was even smaller than 110 film, and the cameras weren't exactly kitted with precision optics), I remember the cameras being quite popular. Lots of the girls in my classes seeemed to always have a Le Clic somewhere in their voluminous Gucci knock-off purses. I imagine that the ubiquity of these cheap cameras encouraged more casual snapping, and therefore more memories captured for posterity (and grainy Throwback Thursdays on Facebook). The Le Clic was a great knock-around camera for young people. It's not like my old man was going to let me casually cart around his Canon AE-1 for spontaneous fun photos.
Now that we all have camera phones with unlimited "film" in our pockets all the time, it's easy to feel somewhat blasé about the Le Clic. I'm going to give the camera some credit for helping make photography breezy and fun, and capturing moments that otherwise may never have been.